Pride Winnipeg Festival Appoints New President

The Pride Winnipeg Festival Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Muhammad Ahsan as the organization’s new President.

“We’re exceptionally pleased that Muhammad has taken on this leadership role,” said Jonathan Niemczak, the outgoing President of the organization. “His broad knowledge of issues that affect our community, coupled with years of experience in rights activism, education and training, conflict resolution, and research and development, makes Muhammad well positioned to lead the organization going forward.”

Muhammad recently joined the organization, last year, as the Vice-President, Community Engagement. He currently works at the Rainbow Resource Centre as the Training and Education Program Coordinator and holds a Master’s in Public Administration with double majors in Human Resource Management and Marketing. As a new comer to Canada, he is committed to equity and inclusion of intersectional GSRD community, here in Canada and globally.

“Although I’ve only been with Pride Winnipeg for a short period of time, it has been a labour of love,” said Muhammad. “I have seen the impact that the Pride Winnipeg Festival makes on the community and I am honoured to have been chosen to lead this vital organization. I look forward to leading this volunteer team into 2019 and the future”.

Muhammad will be succeeding long-time serving Pride President Jonathan Niemczak, with his appointment coming into effect October 1, 2018.


Pride President Stepping Down After a Decade of Service

Pride Winnipeg’s President is stepping after serving the organization for a decade.

Jonathan Niemczak informed the Board of Directors on Thursday that he will be stepping down from the organization effective September 30, 2018.

“It’s been a wild journey and I’m forever grateful for the experiences I’ve had with this amazing organization and passionate group of volunteers. Being a part of the Pride family has forever changed my life and I will miss it dearly. I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life and will cherish my memories and lifelong friendships I’ve made over the last decade,” said Niemczak.

Niemczak joined the organization as the Festival Grounds and Environment Coordinator in 2008, and was shortly tasked with leading the festival operations after the move from Memorial Park to The Forks in 2010. In 2012, the Board of Directors appointed him President of the organization.

“I’ve seen tremendous growth of this festival over the last ten years and I’m proud of what we have accomplished over that time,” said Niemczak. He notes that the organization still has more work to do with engaging the traditionally socially excluded members of Gender, Sexual and Relationship Diverse (GSRD) community, however, he feels that the organization is heading in the right direction for serving the community and celebrating human rights and equality.

The Board of Directors is currently seeking to fill his position. Interested individuals can submit an expression of interest along with their resume to hr@pridewinnipeg.com.


Pride Winnipeg kicks off 2018 festival with Rainbow Flag raising

The kick off for the 2018 Pride Winnipeg Festival will happen today at the University of Winnipeg for the annual raising of the Rainbow Flag. The ceremony will begin at 10:00 am on the front lawn.

Pride Parade Route Concerns

 Pride Winnipeg’s volunteer organizers issued the following statement:

We have heard the concerns raised in our community with respect to the new 2018 Pride Parade Route. Pride Winnipeg Festival has a limited budget, and the cost of the route down Portage Avenue is currently beyond our means. We believe the new route was the right decision for this year, but we also felt the need to discuss our concerns with Mayor Brian Bowman and the City of Winnipeg.  We’re happy to inform everyone that the city has committed to working with Pride Winnipeg in the fall of 2018 to review alternative routes for the annual Pride Parade. We continue to welcome feedback and suggestions for future route options from the community by emailing us at feedback@pridewinnipeg.com.  We wish everyone a happy and safe Pride and look forward to seeing you out and about for this year’s festival.


SATE to Headline 2018 Pride Winnipeg Festival Main Stage

Pride Winnipeg Festival is excited to announce that SATE will headline the main stage at the Festival at the Forks for this year’s festival. The Toronto vocalist and songwriter leads a dynamic band combining blistering hard rock with gritty funk. The empowering messages embedded in her music, and her soul-shaking live show, have quickly built SATE’s reputation as an artist impossible to ignore. Even Canada’s national daily newspaper, the Globe & Mail, declared her full-length debut album, RedBlack&Blue one of 2016’s most anticipated releases.

This year’s Festival at the Forks will feature several changes including location changes for the PrideMART and Blue Bombers KidZone, consolidating all concessionaries into one food village, and the creation of a new Health and Wellness Area and designated substance free zone. Festival attendees are also encouraged to check out the Sky Lounge at the top of the parkade for a beautiful view of the festival and a calm space to hang out. Assistance will be provided to individuals with mobility challenges. In addition, Saturday June 2nd the Festival at the Forks will play host to the Second Annual Two Spirit Pow Wow taking place from 1:30pm – 8:00pm.

The Pride Festival at The Forks begins on the last Saturday of the celebrations and runs on the following Sunday (Pride Day). The Pride Festival at The Forks occurs on the adjacent lawns of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and consists of an array of on-stage entertainment, artisans, vendors, The Winnipeg Blue Bombers Kidzone, Manitoba Liquor Mart Sky Lounge, and Queer Beer Beverage Tent. This event draws the largest crowd during the Pride Winnipeg Festival with attendance peaking on Pride Day after the Pride parade.

This year’s Festival at the Forks will take place on June 2nd and 3rd from 12:00pm – 7:00pm. For more information on the Festival at the Forks please go to www.pridewinnipeg.com/pride/festival-at-the-forks.


2018 Pride Winnipeg Festival Theme and Parade Marshals Revealed

Pride Winnipeg is thrilled to announce its theme for the 2018 Pride Winnipeg Festival: “My First Pride”. Attending Pride for the first time can be an overwhelming emotional experience. It can be the last stop of someone’s journey of discovering and accepting who they are, or it can be the beginning or somewhere in the middle. This experience can be both positive and negative, done solo or with friends and family. Everyone’s first Pride experience is unique. This year we celebrate our first Pride experience and those that will be attending Pride for the first time.



For more information on this year’s theme please go to www.pridewinnipeg.com/my-first-pride.

In addition to the theme, Pride Winnipeg is pleased to announce the 2018 Pride Parade Marshals. This year’s marshals were nominated by the community and embody the spirit and foundational values of the Pride Winnipeg Festival.

Grand Marshal –Brielle Beardy-Linklater: Brielle Beardy-Linklater is a Two-Spirit, Transgender, Queer woman from the Nisichaweyasihk Cree Nation. She is an advocate for 2SLGBTQ+, Indigenous and poor/working class struggles. In 2014, she helped organize the first Pride North of 55 celebrations in Northern Manitoba.

Honourary Youth Marshal – Janine Brown: Janine is a 17 year old spoken word poet. She enjoys writing about intersectional feminism, LGBTQIA* issues, and environmental sustainability. She is passionate about the arts and the accessible platform they can provide for activism. In her spare time, she is a cabinet member for “Parlement jeunesse franco-manitobain”, a francophone annual parliament simulation that encourages youth to develop an interest in debate and politics.

For more information on this year’s Parade Marshals please go to www.pridewinnipeg.com/pride/rally-and-parade.



Pride Winnipeg is Making Big Steps in Reducing Waste at Pride

Pride Winnipeg continues to make progress on reducing the carbon footprint of the annual Pride Festival by undertaking a variety of green initiatives.

“By making a few changes for the 2017 festival, we were able to recycle three times as much as we did in 2016” said Jonathan Niemczak, President of the Pride Winnipeg Festival. “Our goal for the organization is to reduce the amount of waste that our annual festival produces”.

Some of the environmental initiatives underway for the 2018 Pride Winnipeg Festival include:

  • Composting for the entire festival site – all concessionaire cups, cutlery, straws and takeout containers.
  • Fewer garbage cans on site, and in their place a series of waste stations where waste can be sorted into landfill, recycling or compost.
  • Visitors arriving by bicycle will find more convenient bike parking – just make sure your bike is moved from the temporary racks by 8pm on Sunday!
  • Single-use water bottles will be eliminated in favour of a water refill station, generously provided by The Forks.

“We encourage all of our festival attendees to assist us with reducing Pride’s ecological footprint. This can be done by walking, biking or taking transit to the festival, bringing a refillable water container, and sorting waste into the right bins” said Niemczak.

For more information on Pride Winnipeg’s environmental initiatives, please visit https://www.pridewinnipeg.com/pride/sustainability/.


Volunteer Registration Now Open for the 2018 Pride Winnipeg Festival

(Winnipeg, MB; April 5, 2018) – Come out and volunteer this summer! – Volunteer registration is now open for the 2018 Pride Winnipeg Festival, set to take place on May 25th – June 3rd.

“Manitoba has a strong volunteer spirit and as an organization that is ran entirely of volunteers, we understand and appreciate the value of people donating their time for a worthy cause such as the Pride Winnipeg Festival,” said Jonathan Niemczak, President of the Pride Winnipeg Festival.

Each year, the Pride Winnipeg Festival relies upon hundreds of volunteers in order to deliver the annual festival. For 2018, there are a variety of volunteer roles for the Pride Winnipeg Festival including being a part of the Green Team, marshalling the parade or assisting with event logistics.

“This is a great opportunity to be a part of a large-scale city-wide event, and to build skills and gain experience in areas of leadership, customer service, and team work,” said Niemczak. Interested individuals are encouraged to sign up at www.pridewinnipeg.com/volunteer.

The Pride Winnipeg Festival is one of the largest annual celebrations of gender, sexual, and relationship diverse culture in Canada. It began as a one-day event in 1987 and has grown to be a 10-day annual festival of music, dance, art and more, all centered around the annual Pride Parade which takes place in the heart of downtown Winnipeg. The Pride Winnipeg Festival organization is fully operated by volunteers.


Pride Winnipeg Reverses Date Change Decision for 2018

(Winnipeg, MB; December 6, 2017) – After hearing concerns from members of the community, the Pride Winnipeg Festival Board of Directors has reversed its decision to change the dates of the 2018 festival. The festival will take place May 25 – June 3, 2018 rather than July 20 – 29, 2018 which was previously announced.

“The decision to move to the dates was to help the festival keep growing and serving the community,” said Jonathan Niemczak, President of Pride Winnipeg’s board of directors. “We now recognize that the date change was going to have a much greater impact than we realized on some members of our community. After listening to the feedback, our board felt the best thing to do was to reverse our decision and keep our festival’s original dates. We apologize to those who were upset by the lack of community consultation and for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

Pride Winnipeg remains committed to growing the festival in order to accommodate higher demand, reduce congestion, provide more space for programming as well as to allow for new opportunities. For 2018, the board will explore other ways to grow the festival within the May 25 to June 3 week. The board plans to revisit the festival’s dates for the 2019 festival and will seek feedback from the community when it does.

“We heard some great feedback from the community over the past few weeks about ways we can keep improving Pride Winnipeg,” said Niemczak. “The board is preparing some action plans to address many of the issues raised. We look forward to sharing those with everyone soon.”

Pride Winnipeg is one of the largest annual celebrations of LGBTTQ culture in Canada. It began as a oneday event in 1987 and has grown to be a 10-day annual festival of music, dance, art and more, all centred around the annual Pride Parade which takes place in the heart of downtown Winnipeg. The festival is administered by a volunteer board of directors.


Pride Winnipeg Changes Festival Dates to Address Growth

(Winnipeg, MB; October 28, 2017) – Since the Pride Winnipeg Festival established itself at The Forks in 2010 for its free outdoor concert and festival, we have seen tremendous growth in our attendance every year. The Festival has reached a point where it has outgrown its original footprint at The Forks and is in need of more space. For the past several years, our Festival at the Forks has been held the first weekend of June. Due to another annual festival reserving space that would otherwise be utilized for an expanded Pride Winnipeg Festival, we are not able to grow our programming at The Forks during our regularly scheduled early June date.

After careful consideration and a number of alternatives reviewed, the Board of Directors has made a decision to move the 2018 Pride Winnipeg Festival to a new date. For 2018, the Pride Winnipeg Festival will run from July 20th – 29th, with the Festival at the Forks being held on July 28th and 29th and the Pride Winnipeg Parade will be held on Sunday July 29th. These dates were selected in part as to not overlap with other major summer Festivals at The Forks.

These new dates will allow the Pride Winnipeg Festival to:

  • Take advantage of the entire site at the Forks in order to address incremental annual growth in attendance.
  • Make more space available for community partners and new programming.
  • Reduce congestion in order to increase the comfort, safety and space for patrons to enjoy mainstage performers.
  • To plan for and test out an expanded Pride Winnipeg Festival in advance of Winnipeg hosting the 2020 Fierté Canada Pride Festival where we are anticipating welcoming thousands of LGBTTQ* individuals from across Canada.

Pride Winnipeg will be holding a town hall meeting to address any questions from the community in the coming weeks. Town hall meeting details will be posted on our website and Facebook page.


Winnipeg Withdraws as Host of 2020 North America Continental OutGames

(Winnipeg, MB; August 10, 2017) – After careful review of the cancellation of the 2017 Miami World OutGames, the 2020 North America OutGames Planning Committee (Planning Committee) has decided to withdraw Winnipeg as host of the 2020 North America OutGames.

“With the incident that happened in Miami this past June and how the athletes were treated, we feel that we are no longer in a positon to deliver an exceptional experience for LGBTTQ* athletes under the OutGames banner ” said Jonathan Niemczak Chair of the 2020 North America OutGames Planning Committee. “The Planning Committee is very disappointed with how the cancellation of the Miami World OutGames unfolded, and as a result, we cannot support going forward with hosting an OutGames event”.

Winnipeg will still be hosting the Fierté Canada | Canada Pride Festival in 2020 and the Planning Committee is redirecting the efforts that went into the 2020 OutGames to produce a new Canadian LGBTTQ* multi-sporting event.

“We had tons of positive feedback and excitement when we announced our winning bid for the 2020 North America OutGames, and we want to carry forward that momentum” said Niemczak. “The Planning Committee is exploring a new national LGBTTQ* multi-sporting event that will form a piece of the 2020 Fierté Canada Pride celebrations. More information on this event will be released in early 2018”.